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Every summer I grow Basil and it thrives here in eastern North Carolina.What can you do with all this basil? Well, I make Pesto and freeze it to enjoy all year.

Basil is easy to grow and fresh Basil is perfect for making Pesto Genovese | https://chloesblog.bigmill.com/pesto-genovese-recipe-innkeeper-eastern-NC

Fresh Basil from Chloe’s Cook’s Garden

Pesto will keep a long time in the freezer. It can be frozen in ice cube trays — handy if you only need a small amount of pesto.

Basil is also easily rooted if you want to try to keep a pot inside over the winter. I just put a stem in a glass of water, then plant in soil once it shows roots. Click to get Chloe’s Pesto Genovese Recipe

Did you know that some flowers can be lunch?

Edible flowers add a certain pop to any meal. They are easy to grow |

Edible Flowers are all around you

I grabbed my Edible Flower book and wandered around the yard, tasting. I eat whatever is in the yard that I KNOW is edible, including  pecans, blackberries, mulberries, blueberries, tomatoes, wild cherries, figs and cucumbers.

Now I have added Edible Flowers to my “Okay to eat” list. I don’t use these flowers as a main course – they are too pretty blooming in the yard! I pick them as garnish and they add a special pop to any dish. Click to see what edible flowers grow all around you.

No matter what you think about bears, when someone says, “I saw a bear,” you listen.

Big Mill Bed and Breakfast innkeeper blog post talks about the Black Bear Festival every June. Black Bears can be seen through the low lying areas of eastern North Carolina | @bigmill | www.chloesblog.bigmill.com/black-bear-festival-plymouth-nc

Bears in North Carolina are usually black with a cinnamon color muzzle

Increasingly, we are beginning to see bears here in eastern North Carolina. They are mostly in the mountains and coastal regions – bears love our coastal pocosin habitat.

In one of the articles I read, eastern North Carolina was said to have the highest Black Bear population of all the states. A 500-pound bear is not at all uncommon and bear biologist, Colleen Olfenbuttel, confirmed that they are seeing “an increased frequency of 700+ pound bears.”

Click to read more about Black Bears and the Black Bear Festival in eastern NC

When I was growing up we had mules: Big Red, Little Red, Rock, Kit and Mary. There were other mules before my time, but I don’t remember their names.

Big Mill B+B is a Farmstead Inn, located in Williamston in Eastern North Carolina. The old mule barn has been converted into the Mule Room Suite. It's perfect for long-term guests who want all the comforts of home - including a full kitchen. See more photos and read about the newly renovated Mule Room on Chloe's Blog. | @bigmill.com

The living room in the Mule Room Suite has great views of the lakes

We have spiffed up our mule Mary’s quarters and we call her home the Mule Room Suite. Much discussion went into what to call it. A good friend wanted me to call it a shed, but on this farm sheds only have 3 sides. Click to read more about the Mule Room — past and present …

The Hen and The Hog Restaurant in Halifax, NC, is a wonderful surprise.

Looking for fun dining in Halifax, NC? The Hen and The Hog is a NC farm to table restaurant specializing in edgy southern comfort food and an easy day trip from Big Mill Bed and Breakfast in Williamston NC. | @bigmill | chloesblog.bigmill.com/hen-and-hog-gourmet-restaurant-halifax-nc

I love to explore local gems and this one is perfect. The restaurant is located in an old hardware store and the old floors remain – no trendy marble tiles here. But don’t be fooled – this is an upscale place; it just retains its local character. Read more about Hen & Hog

Spiced Mulled Cider Recipe

Hot, Spicy Apple Cider Warms the Heart

A great way to welcome fall and the chill in the air is to make up some hot, spicy cider. If you live where apples are grown, then you can use fresh-pressed cider.

The rest of us can pick up some great cider in the store and create our own brewing spices. North Carolina apples are the best – I see a road trip coming!  Click to read more about Chloe’s Mulled Apple Cider recipe!

The most easterly Barn Quilt on North Carolina’s Quilt Trail is on the Pack House barn at Big Mill B&B in Williamston, NC. I just love it!

The eastern-most barn quilt trails in North Carolina comprise the Tar River Quilt Trail. The most easterly barn quilt is on the Pack House barn at Big Mill Bed & Breakfast near Greenville NC @BigMill | www.chloesblog.bigmill.com/big-mill-nc-barn-quilt-tar-river-quilt-trail

Barn Quilt in eastern NC at Big Mill B&B in Williamston

I used to go to Quilting Bees with my mother when I was a child. I would play under the quilt all by myself. There were no other children.

The ladies made such beautiful works of art. Mother would sew the pieces of fabric together and let me help. When it was all pieced together, we put it in the frame along with the backing and the batting. Then Mother’s friends would come for several days until the quilt was quilted. My father used to make cotton and wool batts for his mother to quilt. I wish I had gotten him to show me how.

In 1976, everyone had caught Bicentennial Fever and felt patriotic so Mother (also named Chloe) made a quilt of red, white and blue. Click to read more about Barn Quilts and Miss Chloe’s LaMoyne Star …

Fig Jam Is Just So Southern


Figs are so special – they are a real delicacy. 

Fig Jam with Less Sugar

Fig Jam is oh so southern and such a treat!  This fig jam recipe actually uses less sugar than you’ll typically find, so that is good for every body.
Course: Condiments
Cuisine: American
Keyword: fig jam with less sugar, lower sugar fig jam, lower sugar fig jam recipe
Servings: 42 servings
Calories: 121kcal
Author: Chloe Tuttle

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 pounds ripe figs* 4 cups prepared figs
  • 5 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 lemon
  • Zest from one lemon
  • 1 Tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon butter
  • 1/2 pouch liquid pectin 1 ½ ounces use Certo NOT Ball)

Instructions

  • Sterilize the jars - you can do this in a dishwasher. Place jar lids in a metal bowl or pot and pour boiling water over them. Set aside.
  • Start heating the water in the canner.
  • Wash and drain the figs, handling very carefully. Remove the stem end from each fig and cut them in half. Mash the figs- I use a potato masher. You will need 4 cups of mashed figs.
  • Measure 6 cups of sugar into a large mixing bowl. Wash the lemons and grate the peel from two of the lemons. You need about 2 Tablespoons of zest.
  • Squeeze the lemons to get a ¼ cup juice. Remove any lemon seeds.
  • Check the expiration date on the pectin, making sure that it is not out of date.
  • Place figs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice and butter in a large stainless steel cooking pot. Stir to combine the ingredients.
  • Bring this mixture to a rolling boil that cannot be stirred down, stirring often.
  • Add the liquid pectin and return to a boil that cannot be stirred down. Boil for exactly 1 minute, stirring often. I count, "one-one thousand, two-one thousand" until I reach sixty. Then remove from heat.
  • Ladle the jam into sterilized jars, wipe the tops to remove any jam. Place sterilized lids on the jars. Screw on the jar bands and hand tighten.
  • Process in a hot water bath for 5 minutes. Remove from the canner and place in a draft-free space. Do not move for 24 hours. Some of the jars will have sealed but others will continue to pop. I love that sound! If you see that a jar is not sealed, store this one in the refrigerator and eat it first.
  • After you eat the preserves, be sure to save the jars and rings, they can be reused. The flat lids can only be used once to seal a jar.

Notes

Yield: 6-7 half-pint jars plus some for tasting.
* You will have to buy the figs at a farmer's market, grow them or if you are lucky a friend will share. I have never seen figs that were affordable in the grocery store. The last ones I saw in a Florida grocery store were $5 for just a few figs. Plant a tree!

Nutrition

Calories: 121kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 1mg | Potassium: 63mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 30g | Vitamin A: 35IU | Vitamin C: 3.5mg | Calcium: 10mg | Iron: 0.1mg



Click to get the Recipe for my Fig Jam with Less Sugar and some great photos too …

Refreshing Summer Punch is Perfect for Those Lazy Summer Days 

Ah, the Halcyon days of summer come to an end each year and that saddens me. When the green leaves turn to gold and then fall away, you can hear the whine of the train and the lonesome whippoorwill. There are fewer whippoorwills than in my youth; that too is sad. That really is a country song.

So on these last balmy nights of summer, grab a cool glass of Summer Punch, hang out in the hammock and listen to the sounds of the changing season. You can hear the quiet except for the cicadas.

Summer Citrus Punch

This refreshing punch is perfect for those hot summer days.
Prep Time15 mins
Course: beverage
Cuisine: American southern
Keyword: apricot punch, citrus punch, pineapple punch, summer punch
Servings: 24
Author: Chloe Tuttle

Ingredients

  • 1 quart fresh tea unsweetened
  • 1 46-ounce can pineapple juice, unsweetened
  • 1/2 gallon orange juice
  • 1 can 11.3 ounces apricot nectar often found in the Hispanic section of the grocery store
  • 1 liter ginger ale
  • 1 lemon sliced
  • 1 orange sliced
  • 1 ice ring optional
  • mint sprigs

Instructions

  • Mix all ingredients and chill.  For parties, I make an ice ring of ginger ale to keep the punch chilled. Float lemon and orange slices in the bowl. Serve with mint sprigs.

This was one of the first recipes I ever published. I wanted to make this great punch and when I looked at the article I realized that it needed a bit of updating. The Punch is as good as ever and I will make more!
Chloe Tuttle Big Mill Bed and Breakfast near Greenville NC
Big Mill Bed and Breakfast 252-792-8787

Bill’s Hot Dogs in Washington, NC is an institution

Bills Hot Dogs is a Mom and Pop eatery that serves up great hot dogs in Washington NC. Read more on Chloes Blog. @Bigmill | www.chloesblog.bigmill.com/bills-hot-dogs-eastern-north-carolinas-best-hot-dog

Bill’s Hot Dogs in Little Washington, NC

It doesn’t matter if you like hot dogs or not — you just have to eat a Bill’s hot dog if you are in Washington, North Carolina. Bill’s has been open as a hot dog “stand” since 1928 and it hasn’t changed much; not that I can see.

Located on Gladden Street in “Little” Washington, NC, it is just a short distance from the Pamlico River. Bill’s is an institution for most everyone who has ever lived in Washington or eastern North Carolina. For the locals, this is Road Food at its best. Click to read More about Bill’s Hot Dogs in Washington, NC